Patrick Dempsey Accused Of Bad Behaviour On Grey’s Anatomy Set And ‘Terrorising’ Cast

by : Hannah Smith on : 17 Sep 2021 11:00
Patrick Dempsey Accused Of Bad Behaviour On Grey’s Anatomy Set And ‘Terrorising’ CastGlenn Francis/Landmark Media/Alamy

Patrick Dempsey was reportedly forced off Grey’s Anatomy after a series of ‘HR issues’, according to a new tell-all book about the long-running drama. 

According to How to Save a Life: The Inside Story of Grey’s Anatomy – an unauthorised oral history of the show – the star left after causing issues on the show, with one executive producer claiming Dempsey was ‘terrorizing the set’ after becoming unhappy with his long working hours.


While those who contributed to the book were at pains to point out that Dempsey was never accused of any sexual misconduct and got on well with others working on the show, many contributed stories of the actor’s poor behaviour during the latter stages of his time playing Derek Shepherd, which reportedly ultimately led to him leaving the show dramatically in season 11.

Patrick Dempsey (Alamy)Alamy

‘There were HR issues. It wasn’t sexual in any way. He sort of was terrorizing the set. Some cast members had all sorts of PTSD with him,’ said executive producer James D. Parriott, who oversaw Dempsey’s exit from Grey’s in 2015.

‘He had this hold on the set where he knew he could stop production and scare people. The network and studio came down and we had sessions with them. I think he was just done with the show. He didn’t like the inconvenience of coming in every day and working. He and Shonda were at each other’s throats.’


According to an excerpt from the book published by The Hollywood Reporter, Dempsey’s complaints ended up causing friction between himself and co-star Ellen Pompeo, with writer and producer Jeanine Renshaw claiming ‘there were times where Ellen was frustrated with Patrick and she would get angry that he wasn’t working as much. She was very big on having things be fair’.

Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd (ABC)ABC

Renshaw went on to add that showrunner Shonda Rhimes eventually made the decision to boot Dempsey from the show over his actions, saying, ‘I think Shonda finally witnessed it herself, and that was the final straw.’

For his part, Dempsey agreed that he’d grown frustrated with the length and uncertainty of his schedule, telling the book’s author Lynette Rice that he was ‘very happy to have moved on with a different chapter in my life’.


The revelations come after Dempsey reprised his role as Derek Shepherd in a series of guest appearances during the show’s latest season.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Film and TV, Now


The Hollywood Reporter
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Book Details “HR Issues” Behind Patrick Dempsey’s Exit